News From Verbum: Android App, Ignatius Study Bible, & More

Verbum for Android

Verbum (formerly Logos Catholic Bible Study Software) has some news:

  • First off, the software is finally available for Android devices, with a free app that provides access to your Verbum library. Check it out at either Google Play or Amazon.
  •  The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is coming to the system and is now on pre-order. This package includes the RSV 2nd Catholic Edition, and comes with not only the whole New Testament, but also the first two available OT books from the series: Genesis and Exodus. This is a great work from Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. It’s perfectly accessible to everyday readers, but I’ve also made use of it in graduate-level work.
  • Some big announcements should be coming soon, including more packages and releases from Ignatius Press and Liturgical Press.
  • Verbum is hiring. They need Spanish-Language Marketing Specialist, a National Software Presenter, and a Marketing Assistant, all from their Bellingham WA offices.

I use Verbum almost every day and it’s essential to my work and my study. Check out the packages.

Bread & Wine | Life & Abundance

The moment when the Lord comes down and transforms bread and wine to become his Body and Blood cannot fail to stun, to the very core of their being, those who participate in the Eucharist by faith and prayer. When this happens, we cannot do other than fall to our knees and greet him. The Consecration is the moment of God’s great actio in the world for us. It draws our eyes and hearts on high. For a moment the world is silent, everything is silent, and in that silence we touch the eternal—for one beat of the heart we step out of time into God’s being-with-us.

Joseph Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy

There’s something simultaneously humble and profound in the use of bread and wine to convey the presence of Christ in the world. Bread and wine were deeply important to both the ritual and physical lives of the Jews, and thus it was natural for Christ to use them as vehicles for his new covenant. In doing so, he both fulfilled and extended their role and meaning.

Themes of replacement and abundance are central to the gospel of John. Jewish institutions, rituals, and feasts are to be replaced with the person of Christ himself. In particular, wine and bread shall be provided in great abundance, in fulfillment of the messianic promises of the Old Testament.

Over the next few days, I’m going to do a bit of catechesis on bread and wine in the Old Testament, and the way it is transformed in John’s gospel.

I want to start by isolating all the passages referencing bread and wine in both the Old and New Testaments, which is an easy task to do with Verbum. Here are the results:

Bread in the Old Testament and the New Testament

Here’s the distribution of the word bread among the books of the OT and NT:

“Bread” in the Old Testament

The use of “bread” in the OT is complex, since the word (לֶחֶם lechem) could have various meanings in Semitic languages, with the root representing any staple food. Thus, “in Arabic one has laḥm, ‘meat,’ in Ethiopic laḥm, ‘cow,’ and in the South Arabic language of Soqoṭra leḥem, ‘fish.’ In Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and Mandaic lḥm referred to bread specifically and food generally.” (The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman) The highest number of references are grouped in Exodus, Leviticus, and 1 Samuel.

“Bread” in the New Testament

In the NT, it’s a little simpler, with  ἄρτος (artos, “bread”) used pretty consistently.  As you can see, the Gospels represent the most frequent usage of “bread,” with John having the most at 20.

Wine in the Old Testament and the New Testament

“Wine” in the Old Testament

Isaiah has by far the most references to wine, and we’ll see why as we go through this catechesis. There are several Hebrew words that get translated into “wine,” but the most common יַיִן (yayin).

“Wine” in the New Testament

By contrast with references to bread, references to wine are more predominant in Revelation (again, for reasons we’ll see) than the gospels. The Greek word here is οἶνος (ŏinŏs, “wine”).

These two elements become the vector for intense meaning both in the Old Testament and the New. Even before the last supper, bread and wine were imbued with deep layers of significance for the Jews. As we’ll see in this catechesis, together they fulfill key elements of John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Verbum: The New Logos for Catholics

I’ve used Logos Bible study software for used for many years, so when they began creating products aimed at the Catholic market, I was delighted. In the past year, Logos has been adding new titles and features specifically for Catholics, and now they have decided to turn that product line into its own brand: Verbum.

Thus far, I haven’t too deeply into some of the new features, but I’m pleased to see the easier search functions for catechism, church fathers, and church documents. These allow you to see, for example, every church document referencing John 1:1. It was possible to create groups like this manually, but it was labor intensive and each collection had to be updated each time a new text was added to the library.

I’m also pleased to see a much more robust set of Latin tools to compliment to Greek and Hebrew tools already developed by Logos. Evangelicals have no real need for Latin, but for Catholics in can be essential. I’m in a class on Christology right now where my ability to instantly swap back and forth between the Latin and English texts of the Summa is essential. St. Thomas requires some very special understanding of terminology and language, and sometimes it can really only be grasped at the Latin level.

The new series is offered in five packages ranging from Basic (226 resources) to Capstone (1020 resources). You can see what each package offers and decide which is the best fit for your needs. If you use the coupon code “Logos5Verbum” you get 15% off.

I had a chance to ask Andrew Jones, Director of Catholic Products for Logos, some questions about the new product line:

Why was Verbum created, and what distinguishes it from Logos?

What we’ve done with Verbum is taken the Logos 5 software and tweaked it here and there to make it better for Catholics. The idea was that while most of the tools and functions of Logos have great value to both Catholics and Protestants, there are certain things that Catholics do differently that needed our attention. Not least among these is our preferred texts. The software relies on a certain prioritized list of books. Whenever two books could occupy the same place, the software orders them according to this priority list. So, one of the things that we have done with Verbum is put the Catholic works at the top of the list. This may seem like a minor tweak, but it actually has significant consequences

Was there a feeling that Catholics needed a product that was somewhat separate from Logos, which is product with strong Evangelical roots?

There is just no way around the fact that Catholics and Evangelicals approach the study of Christianity in different ways and making use of different resources. It is a testament to the versatility of Logos’s software that Catholics could use it for our style of study and Evangelicals could use it for theirs. This remains the case. Verbum has all the functionality of the main Logos 5 product line. However, I felt that Catholics could be better served by producing a special version of the software just for them. It was important that Catholics could just pull the product off the shelve, open it up, and start using it without having to negotiate any sort of denominational “problems.” So, when you open Verbum for the first time, you will see a Catholic Bible, the Catholic lectionary, a Catholic blog feed and things like that. Verbum users are still a part of the Logos universe, with all the benefits that go along with that, but they have their own home now.

What are some of the new tools that are specifically tailored for Catholics?

One of the things we did was create default segments within the library of texts. There are three of them: Catechism, Church Fathers, and Church Documents. These segments allow for some simple, but very useful, functionality. For example, if you are doing a search on the word “Eucharist,” you can very quickly limit it to just the writings of the Church Fathers or to the Catechism. We have incorporated these segments into what we call the Passage Guide. The Passage Guide is a tool that behaves like a dynamic study Bible. So, if you are reading a certain passage in the Bible, the tool goes into your library, pulls out relevant information on that passage, and presents it to you in a useful format. In Verbum’s Passage Guide, you can see immediately how the Catechism uses the passage in question, where the documents of the Magisterium have cited it, and how the Church Fathers treated it. You can also see when the passage is read in Mass and with what other readings. This is in addition to the normal Passage Guide tools like cross references, parallel passages, maps, commentaries, and the like. You get the same sort of behavior in other Logos tools.

What are some of the new features of Logos Version 5

Logos 5 has a bunch of new features. For example, with the Clause Search you can do things like search for every sentence in the Bible where Jesus is the subject and Peter is the indirect object, even if pronouns are used. We have the Universal Timeline, which makes dates in Logos resources links, so that you can immediately see a certain event within the context of world or Biblical history. There’s the Topic Guide that allows you to pull information from the Bible and from throughout your library that is relevant for a certain topic. There’re new smart search features that suggest possible queries that are far more complex than that of a search engine like Google. We also have a lot of social media functionality. So, you can make a note in your Bible or Catechism or any other work and share it with a group. The members of the group can reply to your note and make their own—You can study the faith together with discussion threads right in the texts.

What are some of the new books being added to the base packages? 

We’ve added scores of books. We have the all the papal encyclicals since 1740; we have the Papal Exhortations and Constitutions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI; we have a reverse interlinear of the RSVCE; we have sermons of St. Thomas Aquinas, history works, reference books, and of course many, many different Bible texts. The full lists can be seen here.

Study the Catechism in a Year With Logos

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and to offer a opportunity to reflect on the gift of our faith, Pope Benedict has declared a Year of Faith beginning October 11th. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wants this to a be a year for people to “deepen their knowledge of the primary documents of the Second Vatican Council and their study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” The best way to do this is to study the Catechism, and Logos Bible Software is offering a neat way to do just that.

Using Logos’s Faithlife tools and their bible study software, you can read the Catechism along with a group of the faithful, make comments, ask questions, and discuss issues. You can sign up for the program by going here and clicking the Join button. Once you connect Faithlife with your Logos software, this little icon will appear on your Logos homepage:

As you can see, it offers weekly readings in small chunks, and the Faithlife tools allow you to comment upon and discuss the readings each week. Even better, Logos offers free apps for the major mobile devices, so you can follow the reading plan and discussions that way as well.

The beauty of Logos is that it hyperlinks all the Biblical citations so you can pop to them instantly. If you have one of the bigger Logos sets, this power extends to even more citations, so if St. Thomas or a Council document is cited and you own that resource, you can see a quote or reference in context. There is simply no better way to study the Catechism than with Logos. Yes, it gets expensive to have all those resources, but if you’re a student, serious layperson, or involved in some ministry, it’s an excellent tool to own.

You can read more about the program at Verbum, the official blog for the Logos Catholic program.

An example of the Logos CCC, with hyperlinks straight to a specific Summa citation

If you use the coupon code WS18543, you’ll even save 15% off the 9-volume CCC Collection, and it works on base packages as well. Ends Sunday.

Find out more about the Logos CCC here, or view a tutorial here.

 

Scripture Study During the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Glossed medieval manuscript.

Andrew Jones, of Logos Bible Software’s Catholic division, has written an excellent pair of posts about the way Christians of the Middle Ages and Renaissance approached scripture study.

Although medieval Christians were known for striking feats of memory (some of them achieved using techniques I still teach to my own students), Jones points out that rote memorization was not the heart of the way they lived the scripture. Rather, it was the way they integrated the scripture into their very beings and let it change them over time that made their deep experience of the Bible so significant. Their very lives were a dialog with the scripture.

One concrete manifestation of this approach were the illuminated and glossed manuscripts, which were at the cutting edge of technology: kind of the Logos of their day:

There were amazingly intricate mental techniques for memorization, whole mental architectures that were built and refined as they were passed on from master to student. Even the physical form of the Bible was a technology. For example, much of the illumination we see in medieval manuscripts functioned as memory “tags,” giving the reader a visual anchor for the memorized text.

But even more impressive than the illuminations were the glosses that surrounded the Scripture text. As monks and scholars read, they would often jot down little reminders in the margins—anonymous sayings, references to, perhaps, St. Augustine or an early council. These were intended primarily as memory aids, so there were often only a few lines or even a couple words—just enough to evoke the memory. These notes are called glosses. Over the centuries, as Bibles were copied and recopied, traded and loaned, a standard gloss grew up around the text. The construction of this gloss was a process of dialogue across centuries as monks and scholars meditated on and digested the Scriptures and engaged with the ancient authorities and each other.

In his follow-up post on the Renaissance approach to textual studies, Jones makes another important point. The flowering of humanism led people away from the medieval conception of scripture, which was as an integral part of the individual, with each new generation continuing a dialog with the past. The Renaissance, on the other hand, saw the development of a more analytical style of understanding the Bible. Rather than being shaped by the text, they stood aloof from it, attempting to understand it with a more clinical detachment. This isn’t a bad thing, since it helped us get back to original languages and led to a deeper sense of history, context, interpretation, translation, and other issues. The approach continues down to the present time (for both good and ill), taking shape into historical-critical, form criticism, and similar approaches to the Bible.

As Jones observes, Renaissance scholars used the technology of their time (the printing press: still the most important technological revolution in history) to create new tools for Bible study:

Whereas in the Middle Ages, each Bible was the unique manifestation of sometimes centuries of tradition, the printing press could produce thousands of identical copies. This demanded a single text, a fundamental text that could serve as the printers’ source. Such a technological need was directly congruent with the humanist approach to historical texts, and so the humanists set to work producing critical editions, taking into account the various manuscript traditions, reconciling them, sorting out what they deemed to be corruptions from later ages, and finally producing the “text” as they supposed it to have been written. This text was printed, translated, and disseminated as a stand-alone book, without glosses or adornment.

You can read both posts at the Logos blog: The Technology of Scripture Study in the Middle Ages and The Technology of Scripture Study in the Renaissance.

 

Have You Entered to Win a Super-Duper Logos Catholic Scholar’s Library?

There are only a couple days left, so enter now.

Seriously, how could you not enter this contest?! Even if you’re not Catholic. Even if you’re not Christian. Even if you don’t have a computer. Even if you’re not a sentient life form! How could you miss this rare opportunity to grab the single best Bible study software ever created in the whole history of people creating Bible study software. Yes, I mean it: it’s even better than the Bible study software created by the Hittites, those slackers.

Right now your odds of winning are pretty good: about 1000:1. By comparison, your odds of being injured in a chainsaw accident are 4,464:1. Which would you rather have? Bible software full of Catholicy goodness? Or a chainsaw injury? Don’t stop to think about it! You already know the answer.

This is the Mother of All Bible Study Packages. It includes the powerful Logos Bible Software as well as a vast library of Catholic scripture study, Bibles, history, theology, the complete Church Fathers, a generous selection of texts from the saints and councils, a hyperlinked Catechism, Hebrew and Greek language resources, and more. There are about 400 texts in this set, which is the largest package currently offered by Logos. It normally costs $790.

All you need to do is click this link or scroll straight to the bottom of this page and give them your name and email. That’s it. When Brandon Vogt winds up winning this software and doing his wonderful-awful Dance of Gloating with his giant F4F foam finger, you’ll slap yourself on the head and say, “I really wish I’d entered that contest.”

Housekeeping note: I’m out for the rest of the weekend, doing research on the book of Sirach and a Powerpoint on teaching the Psalms.  Admit it: you so wish you were me right now. Honestly, I wish you were me right now.

[Sticky] WIN a Logos Catholic Scholar’s Library Worth $790

Logos Bible Software has graciously offered to provide a Complete Logos Catholic Scholar’s Library to one lucky reader of God and the Machine. The package is worth $790, and you can read more about it here. I’ve written an overview of the software, and an update on some recent additions.

Click on this link to enter the contest via the Punchtab app. The link takes you to the bottom of this page, where you can type in your name and email address in order to enter the contest. This information will NOT be made public.

Continue reading

Huge St. Thomas Aquinas News from Logos

This could be big. Logos Bible Software is hoping to commission and publish the first complete English translations of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Sentences of Peter LombardCommentary on the Prophet Isaiah, and Commentary on the Prophet Jeremiah. All three texts will come with both the Latin original and a new English translation.

Logos has placed these titles in their pre-pub program in order to gauge interest and raise money for the translations. No word yet on who will be doing the translations, but Andrew Jones of Logos (who has completed his dissertation and will earn his PhD in Medieval ecclesiastical history next month) says it “will likely be a team effort. It is a very big project and is going to take some time to raise the money and find the scholars to work on it. As we collect pre-orders, we will nail down more aspects of the project and post more information about it. Aquinas’ commentaries on Jeremiah and Isaiah are much smaller and we will be able to do a lot of the work in house. Louis St. Hilaire, our patristics product manager, and I will work on these. We will then get them reviewed by outside scholars. The translations will be high-quality and accurate, and ultimately I’ll be responsible for the style of translation. ”

You don’t need to buy the full Logos package to order or even read these texts. Any book you buy from Logos comes with a free download of the software engine. It doesn’t have all the texts that make the platform so powerful, but it certainly allows you to read, search and annotate any text you’ve purchased. Continue reading

New Catholic Resources From Logos

Andrew Jones, the man spearheading the Logos Bible Software Catholic program, is pushing ahead with some incredible add-ons to the original three base packages. The following are already available:

There is a nice selection of texts from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, focusing on different topics in scripture study. These are divided in a New Testament Studies Collection (11 vols.) and Old Testament Studies Collection (6 Vols.).

The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide (8 vols.) This is a central text for anyone doing Catholic exegesis, and it makes extensive use of patristic sources.  It’s similar to the Catena Aurea (Golden Chain) of St. Thomas.

Augustine Through the Ages. The best single reference work on St. Augustine you’ll find: I’m using a print version right now for a class.

Discovering Aquinas (Aidan Nichols) & Francis of Assisi: Performing the Gospel of Life (Lawrence Cunningham) are bundled in a single download. I’m no familiar with the Cunningham book, but the Nichols is the best introduction you’ll find. (Indeed, everything by Nichols is worthwhile.)

The Complete Works of Dionysius the Areopagite (2 vols.)

There are two collections of Bible studies published by Eerdmans: one on the Old Testament, and one on the New Testament.

The Modern Catholic Theology Collection includes 5 books about the evolution of modern Catholic theology through the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Maurice Blondel, Joseph Ratzinger, Henri de Lubac, and others.

Two of the collections I’ve been able to spend some time with are The Desiderius Erasmus Collection (17 Vols.) and Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI Collection (14 vols.).

The Erasmus collection is as complete a selection as you’ll ever need of the works of the great Renaissance Christian humanist. It includes Against War, Ciceronianus, The Colloquies of Desiderius Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace, Enchiridion Militis Christiani, Letters, Praise of Folly, Proverbs Chiefly Taken from the Adagia of Erasmus, The Apophthegmes of Erasmus, and Institutio Principis Christiani: Chapters III-XI. It also includes the secondary works Erasmus (Ernest Capey), Erasmus and Other Essays (Marcus Dods), and Erasmus and Luther: Their Attitude to Toleration (Robert Murray).

The Ratzinger/Benedict set is even more exciting, although there are certainly some other volumes I would have liked to see included as well. The second volume of Jesus of Nazareth is included, but not the first, due to rights issues with the publisher. Also included are Behold the Pierced One: An Approach to a Spiritual Christology, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, Church, Ecumenism and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology, Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year, Credo for Today: What Christians Believe, God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, Introduction to Christianity (Revised Edition), Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, The God of Jesus Christ: Meditations on the Triune God, The Nature and Mission of Theology, The Spirit of the Liturgy, Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions, and What It Means to Be a Christian.

Obviously, that’s not far from the complete Ratzinger/Benedict, but it’s a great start. I would have loved to see ‘In the Beginning…’: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall in there, as well as his book length interviews with Peter Seewald and, of course, a healthy selection of his papal documents. But the project is still young, and there is, no doubt, more to come.

Remember that this is not a text dump. Each of these collections is brought into the Logos systems, instantly linking it the entire Bible study engine. Thus, any scripture reference in any book is linked to any search on that scripture passage.

Numerous other packages are already in pre-publication, which means you can buy them at a discount.

Coming up is the Code of Canon Law (Western and Eastern), The Apostolic Exhortations and Constitutions of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, The Roman Missals (ordinary and extraordinary forms), and a full run of the journal Letter and Spirit. Andrew tells me that they are “starting some major translations projects. We are going to translate Aquinas’s Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, and his scripture commentaries that are still in Latin only. This will be a major event. We will be posting pages about these projects soon.”

I know these are expensive packages, but I can tell you as both a student and a teacher, there are a great resource.

 

Logos Goes Catholic

The Exegetical Guide (click to enlarge)

One of the things I plan to cover here at God and the Machine is the way we use software and technology to study and evangelize the faith. Logos Bible Study software is one of the tools I use every day. Until last fall, it’s usefulness was limited for Catholics because it had a decidedly Protestant, and predominantly Evangelical, bent. The “scripture teaching” of someone like John MacArthur, for example, is less than useless: it’s pernicious.

Catholics, therefore, had to content themselves with Logos’ superb language analysis tools and overlook the dubious exegetical material. That’s all now changed now that Logos has taken a deep dive into the Catholic market with a series of starter bundles and add-ons. The base packages are the Catholic Scholar’s Library ($790), the Catholic Scripture Study Library ($490), and the Catholic Foundations Library ($250)

I wrote about the initial packages in this National Catholic Register story:

In order to explore this living tradition, Logos has assembled a package with a healthy selection of Church fathers and doctors, council documents, devotional works and theological works.  At its heart are multiple English language translations, led by the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, the New American Bible and the Douay-Rheims, and supplemented by the King James Bible and other non-Catholic translations. The Biblia Sacra Vulga and Clementine Vulgate are included, as well as numerous English-Greek and English-Hebrew reverse interlinear versions, synopses, parallel Gospels and harmonies.

The first layer of critical material is a selection of commentaries by Father John MacEvilly, Father George Haydock, Father Raymond Brown and Bishop Frederick Justus Knecht, as well as the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Venerable Bede’s commentary on Revelation. The second layer of critical material is comprised of the complete Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene fathers, along with the Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae (Latin and English, with the option to switch instantly between each), most of the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, and a good selection of documents of Church councils.

There are also dozens of Catholic theological and historical works, including all four volumes of Father John Meier’s A Marginal Jew, along with works by Joseph Pohle, G.K. Chesterton, Ludwig Ott and others. Dozens of works by and about the saints are included: Sts. Augustine, Thérèse of Lisieux, John of the Cross, Bernard, Teresa of Avila, Francis, Ignatius and others. Almost all of the major devotional works, as well as the complete Butler’s Lives of the Saints, are here.

The Catholic Lectionary is included, as well as the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and other, non-Catholic lectionaries. Reference works provide instant access to information, with numerous Bible dictionaries, concordances and historical background material. Not all of these reference works are specifically Catholic.

The biggest problem with the packages are their cost. This puts them out of the reach of many users, but it’s hard to argue with the pricing structure. This is not a document dump, but a powerful piece of software along the lines of Microsoft Office ($250), Photoshop ($700), or QuarkXPress ($800). I’ve used cheaper Bible software, and they just don’t compare. The original language tools alone are a staggering boon for people who want to dig into the Hebrew or Greek sources of the scripture texts.

The project is being managed by Andrew Jones, a Catholic professor of medieval history who has taught at St. Louis University and Lindenwood University. Andrew has staggering plans for Logos, which I plan to discuss as we go along. Check out Logos.com for more information.